University of Arizona

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Limpieza de Sangre: Race, Religion and Purity of Blood in Colonial Mexico

Convento de Santo Domingo de Mexico documents

Presented by Dr. Martha Few, Associate Professor of Latin American history at the University of Arizona. She is the author of "Women Who Live Evil Lives: Gender, Religion and the Politics of Power in Colonial Guatemala," and recently published journal articles and book chapters on such things as the history of chocolate in Guatemala, accounts of miraculously healed children in New Spain, and the use of medical autopsies during 16th century epidemics in colonial Mexico. Prof. Few’s current research will result in a new book, "All of Humanity: Colonial Guatemala and New World Medical Cultures Before the Smallpox Vaccine," and in a co-edited book, "Centering Animals: Writing Animals into Latin American History."

Dr. Few provides an overview of key issues and contrasts of purity of blood laws in Iberian Spain and colonial Mexico. She will use a 1767 manuscript from the Morales de Escárcega Collection to illustrate and provide further discussion on how this practice worked for the requestors mentioned in this particular document.

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